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Shadiyda demonstrates prestige

Racing returned to the UAE Capital on Sunday evening with a six race card on the Abu Dhabi Equestrian Club turf. The first five races were for the Purebred Arbians highlighted by the feature, the Sheikh Zayed bin Sultan Al Nahyan Prestige Cup, over 1600m.

It was won in good style by top-weight Shadiyda, carrying the colours of His Excellency Sheikh Mansour Bin Zayed Al Nahyan. Trained by Frenchman Eric Lemartinel, he was ridden by compatriot Gerald Avranche who said: "This is a nice with a touch of class. He has the speed for this trip but does also stay further and can hopefully build on this deserved victory."

It was a double for the trainer and jockey who had combined 30 minutes earlier to land the only Purebred Arabian handicap on the card, over 1600m. On paper it had looked competitive with a maximum field of 16 declared. However, it was won very easily by Mooser and Avranche said: "He rarely runs a bad race and deserved another win."

Pat Dobbs has started the season in a rich vein of form and, after a Jebel Ali double on Friday, was back in the winner`s enclosure after Sarabella made a winning debut in a 1400m maiden for fillies and mares. It was a first winner of the season for Tony Manuel who now trains in Al Ain.

Dobbs said: "She was always going well in the race and picked up very nicely. Considering it was her first start it was a nice debut."

The opening race of the campaign, a 1300m maiden for three year old colts and geldings, was won by David Badel on the Philippe Barbe-trained Burkan Al Asayl. He battled on bravely to head long-time leader Zamhareer Al Reef close home to provide a great start for the trainer from his new Al Asayl base.

Thirty minutes later the pair were celebrating again after Noor Einy proved far too good for her rivals in a similar race confined to fillies. She had the race in the bag a long way out and it was an impressive performance.

Badel was obviously delighted: "That is a great start to the new season and both are nice types. The colt (Zamhareer Al Reef) was a little bit green during the race and then again when he hit the front, allowing the other horse to come back at him a bit. But he responded well.

"She (Noor Einy) did that very comfortably and could be a nice filly, especially considering she was slowly away. She felt like a racehorse already and knew the job well. Hopefully both will have learned from the experience."

The concluding 1600m handicap, the only Thoroughbred race on the card, was won by Dr Smart for Wayne Smith and Musabah Al Muhairi.